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Enjoy this Memorial Day holiday, boat smart and safe


May 29, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - As you're getting your boat out of mothballs and ready for this Memorial Day holiday weekend take a few minutes to make sure you and your family and friends are also ready.

The Coast Guard encourages boaters to use National Safe Boating Week as an early season reminder to be prepared when boating.  The USCG offers a few key tips this year for boaters:

Always wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) while boating.  If you don't want to wear it for yourself, wear it for your loved ones.  Personal flotation devices are not one-size-fits-all, so make sure everyone has the correct sized device. A PFD gives you vital "extra minutes" to get back onboard your boat if you happen to fall overboard.  Without one, the initial gasp reflex from cold shock, swimming failure, or hypothermia may all take a deadly toll.

Think about how you would get back onboard your boat if you fell in the water.  Make a loop of webbing or other "ladder" to use if you are operating a skiff or other boat that is difficult to re-board.

Practice with your family and friends what to do in a boating emergency.  Too many Alaskans have died in front of their children who were unable or did not know how to respond in an emergency.

Carry a VHF radio so that you can call for help or assist someone else in an emergency situation.  Teach everyone onboard your boat how and when to use it. Also explain to children and adults that the radio is for a real emergency and making a false Mayday call or hoax call could potentially endanger someone else's life by taking vital Coast Guard resources away from a real emergency.

Just like you'd never drive a car while under the influence of alcohol or medication, never boat while intoxicated. After you've enjoyed your cookout on the beach, be sure to have a designated boat driver to safely navigate the boat back to your homeport.

Give a float plan to your family or friends, and discuss when to call the Coast Guard if you are overdue. The float plan gives the Coast Guard and other rescue agencies a place to start looking for you just in case.

Enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday and make it even more enjoyable by boating smart and safe. 


Source of News Release:

Web Site

USCG boating safety website



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